Why am I completely unsurprised it’s Dave Armstrong? Those who read Dr. Feser probably recognize the name.
Helpfully, Armstrong writes out his argument in list form for me in the article, so all I need to do is quote it. Obnoxiously, my laptop is just not letting me copy-paste from this site, so I’ll have to paraphrase to a point. The argument goes like this:
- Both traditionalists and radical Catholic reactionaries desired a return to the pre-1962 Mass
- Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI agreed to grant wider availability and access to this Mass, under the logic of “Worship and let worship”
- Summorum Pontificum was the most notable effort along these lines
- Pope Benedict XVI saw both Masses as valid expressions of the liturgy, and by attending one this was not meant to be a license to thumb your nose at the other
- This is, however, what happened; the freedom of worship has lead to too many people having a quasi-schismatic attitude towards the new Mass, leading to people denigrating the novus ordo as objectively inferior to the TLM or even in the most extreme cases calling it invalid
- After undertaking a study, Pope Francis decided there was too much increasing division, elitism, and rigorism, and many people used the TLM Masses and parishes as an excuse to reject Vatican II,
- Therefore, to try and keep the Church more unified, he is restricting the celebration of the TLM.
The argument is eloquently made, and seems an accurate summary of what the Pope was saying. I of course have an issue with it, as you could probably guess.
Obviously the TLM is open to that sort of abuse. But why?
Seriously. Ask yourself this. What was causing people – in theory the people MOST faithful to the Church, who MOST loved the Mass – to have these sorts of reactions?
You’re gonna have to trust me here, and I think most of you will, but the novus ordo is incredibly easy to abuse. If anything there are probably almost as many Masses of the novus ordo performed improperly or disrespectfully as done well. And in these parishes, you get modern priests – like mine – straight up denying that something like the flood COULD even have happened, and openly speculating about alternate theories for why the story was included, in the homily. In a parish where we have maybe 20 parishioners per Mass – naturally my congregation has shrank – still we have extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
So respect for the Eucharist is dropping, to say nothing of the horrifying statistic that over half of American Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence.
NONE of these are issues in TLM Parishes. And not only that, instead of shrinking they are growing. Indeed, they are bursting at the seams, and entirely organically. I went on a random Sunday once and was forced to stand. Not Christmas. Not Easter. Just Sunday Mass. I have literally never seen that anywhere else except the time I saw a Mass said by Cardinal Burke.
And it is THESE parishes and THESE Masses being targeted. This is the serious problem Pope Francis – and the bishops! – are seeing that is causing the Pope to act. He said not a word about the Panchamama incident – scratch that, he apologized after someone threw the statue in the Tiber – he refused to say a word to clarify his weird footnote in Amoris Laetitia, he refused to elaborate on any of the odd and frankly contradictory things he’s said about gay marriage despite Cardinals issuing statements because THEY were concerned Catholic teaching was being misrepresented, he has shuffled around rumored sex abusers and done next to nothing to the German bishops…
…But people having an issue with Vatican II and pointing out hey, maybe the novus ordo is way too open to abuse and the TLM was the historic liturgy of the western church for 1000 years *for a reason*, espite the fact that the people attending these parishes and attending these liturgies are MORE orthodox and faithful on average…
…Well, that’s DIVISIVE!
Well, no duh it’s divisive. It’s divisive to point out that yes, what you are offering is actually, in fact, more holy and more faithful than the watered-down stuff next door is. Because it is, obviously.
We currently have in office a very bad pope. This is not new; it’s happened before. The difference now is we have the internet. But let’s just call a spade a spade here – the pope is bad, and this was a massive mistake that is only going to lead to a schism.
What this just did, was turn moderate traditionalists celebrating their Masses into radical extremists. If Pope Francis wanted to calm down the dissent, then needless to say *confirming the Vatican’s hostility to traditionalists by cracking down on the celebration of the latin Mass* was probably the wrong way to go about it.